Getting Started with Social Networking -- Part 2

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Getting started with LinkedIn

If you're job hunting, LinkedIn is a must. Even if you don't actively use it, recruiters and hiring managers will expect to see you there. And with 65 million professionals on the site now, they'll wonder why you aren't one of them. You don't want them wondering if you're stuck in the 20th century, computer illiterate or afraid to embrace new trends.

The place to start with just about every social networking site is with your personal profile. Here's the minimum information you should include in your LinkedIn profile to be in the game (Start your profile on LinkedIn):

1. Work experience and education information, just as you would have in your resume. Include relevant keywords for the job you are looking for.

2. Summary section to highlight your strongest points and headline that describes you in one sentence or a few words. Include keywords here as well.

3. Connections. Search for people you already know -- former coworkers, classmates, etc. -- and send an invitation to connect. Be sure to personalize your message.

4. Photo. If you have a common name, it can help identify you, but it also brings your profile to life. It should be a head shot of you in professional attire, rather than a full-body or casual shot. Save that for Facebook.

Even if you're not looking for a job, start to build up your LinkedIn profile and connections now so your network will be ready to go when and if you ever need it.


Getting started with Facebook

Many people join Facebook for social reasons -- to stay in touch with far-flung family members and to reconnect with long lost friends. Job leads and business opportunities can come from anywhere, and more likely from people who already know you, so being a member of Facebook will allow you to interact with your contacts who use this as their primary social networking site. (Set up an account on Facebook.)

But this also means you have to be mindful about what you post. A CareerBuilder survey last year revealed that 45 percent of employers used social networking sites to screen job candidates and more than one-third did not make the hire based on something they saw.

When you fill out your profile information, there's space to include not just your work history and education as on LinkedIn, but also your interests, hobbies, political affiliations. How much you share is up to you.

While you can set the privacy settings on your Facebook profile to the highest level so only your friends can see what you post, if anything in your profile would shock your grandmother, then it's probably best not to share it in the first place. Watch your language, the groups you join, and the photos you post.


Getting started with Twitter

Twitter is a social networking site that allows you to post very short updates, no longer than 140 characters total, which anyone following you can read. (Set up your Twitter account).

Filling out your Twitter profile is simple: your name, city, a brief description of yourself and a photo. You can also include a website link to your blog, personal website or LinkedIn profile where people can go to learn more about you. But that's it.

Unlike Facebook where you can upload photos and videos, or LinkedIn where you can join groups and participate in discussions, the only way to express yourself and interact with the Twitter community is though your updates.

You can establish yourself as an expert resource in your field by posting links to helpful articles in your industry, responding to questions from your followers, or sharing your own thoughts on a topic. You can build connections and have 140-character conversations with those who share an interest. Barb Ashcroft searched for other history/photo buffs who could join with her to offer bound storybooks in Australia. You can also keep up to date on news from companies you'd like to work for or brands that you like.

The best way to get started with any social networking site is to fill out your profile and search for people to follow. If you're not sure what to post at first, sit back for a bit and watch what your connections do.

Once you've made your way online, let's connect! Find me here: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn

You can also follow AOL Find a Job on Twitter and Facebook.


Previous: Getting Started with Social Networking -- Part 1 >>

Next: How to Tweet Your Way to the Top >>


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